On the Road with Johnny and Claude

The Freightliner, the Sprinter, The Red Head, as I prefer to call her, was finished and we were going to be loading the back for her first long distance haul in her newly renovated condition. John had spent the past year slowly and methodically bringing her from near salvage-yard oblivion to showroom stature.

From a flat bleached-Florida-white to a gleaming silver, with a rusty red headliner and matching rust-colored leather seats she is but a memory of her former abused self. Having a new engine (and many other replacements), fabricated bumpers, a winch, cameras, trailer hitch and aluminum paneling in her cargo area (to list but a few of her updates). The girl's got game.

We left Ann Arbor, MI, U.S.A., at almost 6 pm on a Saturday night. With John at the helm and Rosie and myself in the cab we were determined to drive all night and arrive in Tucumcari, NM 24 hours later.

Running a business and fostering the creative mind takes a massive amount of energy and concentration. Replenishing ourselves can easily take a backseat to simply "making things work". This was going to be a working odyssey (this ten day loop) but it was also plotted as a favorable time to cast a glance at what we have accomplished and to look ahead at where we are bound as METAL would, come 15 April 2013, celebrate two years since opening to the public.

The iron pour that we attend is responsible for John and I having met. The people we associate with there are of inspiration and affection. The rituals of the pour are, in no small part, the rituals of creative and collaborative people in search of their golden fleece.

Wind was the constant on this adventure. If we had only had a sail atop the Red Head; Even returning through Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa (we expect a blow when on the high plains desert) and beyond, there was a constant howl and vehicles were losing rooftop pods and belongings at a rate I had never witnessed.

We spent the last night of our journey in Lincoln, NE where I could tour his boyhood sites, see the work that he had done before our association, much in ceramics, and have impressed upon me the influences on him. He warmed up the SAAB that he and his father had refurbished and we took a tour of downtown, complete with a detour that I have been sworn to hold dear and not reveal.

An odyssey, a renewal, an energizing- just like the Red Head, Johnny and Claude were replenished and the creative juju in our collaboration restored and confirmed.